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Launching the Classroom Community: Heart meets Structure

July 27, 2010

I can’t imagine being a parent. I can’t imagine what it’s like to wish and dream and hope with fierce passion for a world worthy of your little person’s life.  You do your best to create an environment where she can blossom and wonder and explore. You try to protect her heart and self-esteem…you guide her with love and firmness. But in the end, her independent self  will make decisions. You teach and model empathy. You try your hardest to live a life of compassion and generosity-one worth emulating, knowing that her little, bright eyes are on you at all times. You pour in love and hope that this will overflow from her life to others. And then you watch. You guide. You celebrate.

I’m not a parent, but this is definitely what I feel as a teacher.  I am not naive to believe that I can prescribe a perfect year in the classroom. But it is absolutely my desire (and DELIGHT!) to pour my effort into creating the best possible environment for my kids. One that will help them blossom and wonder and explore. I consider it my job to protect their hearts and self-esteem… to pour love into their little souls so that it can overflow onto others. (All the while, teaching them. Can’t forget about that!)

Thank God, as teachers, we get to start fresh every year. And my slate is clean. So it is with great humility (from failures and shortcomings) and gratitude (for success and lessons learned) that I plan this unit. In my previous post, I said I was going to attempt to create a unit around building the classroom community. After a few days of brainstorming, I finally found a bit of structure to harness my thinking.  I used a UbD template created with colleagues to guide me. My hope is that it describes the KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING and ACTIONS that my students and I will embrace.

This is only a draft. (An incomplete one, at that.) I imagine it will change a lot before the school year begins, so I welcome any thoughts (advice, questions, etc.) you have as you read this!

Click here to see the actual UbD unit. ( BIGGER FONT!) Classroom Comm UbD

Next steps: Phase 2 and 3  (Lessons, models, evidence, inquiries, etc..) I think it would be really fun to create these with other teachers. 🙂

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